Consoles can be great fun at Christmas, whether it be for a nice family game of virtual bowling, or hunting down hordes of zombies in a post apocalyptic world.
A lot has happened in the world of gaming in 2010. We’ve seen the advent of full 3D games, controllers that follow the player’s gestures, and handhelds have got bigger. But what does this mean for you and your family this Christmas? Read our guide to find out.
Best for family fun: Microsoft Kinect & Sony PlayStation Move
Microsoft’s new Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 is a great way to introduce gaming to anyone who has never picked up a game controller before, relying instead on the movements of your body to control the action on screen.
The device comes with Kinect Adventures, a mini-game collection that’s easy for anyone to jump into. There are also sports, keep fit and dancing games available, although family members will probably want to let their Christmas lunch go down before they start on anything too active.
The Kinect retails for around £130, with game included. It can also be bought with the Xbox 360, for around £250.
2010 also saw the release of the PlayStation Move, Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s unique controller. Working on a similar basis, Move is a wand controller that the player waggles and points to control the action on screen. This could be anything from swinging it like a racket in a game of tennis or shooting it like a gun to stop on-screen enemies
Move has the benefit of being a lot more accurate than the Wii’s remote, although the majority of the games are very much in the mini-game vein of the Wii’s title. However, future titles, such as shooter Killzone 3, have promised to implement Playstation Move for more in-depth games.
The most recent Harry Potter game is also compatible with Move, allowing the player to cast spells with a flick of the controller.
The PlayStation Move starter bundle is available for around £40.
Best for the dedicated gamer: Xbox 360 Slim
Having been around for five years now, the Xbox 360 could never really be called attractive. However, in 2010 it received a facelift in the form of the Xbox 360 Slim, as well as having wi-fi and a hard drive integrated. On top of this it’s also noticeably quieter than older models, and features a dedicated port for the Kinect.
With its sleek new look, and a back catalogue of hundreds of games, any keen gamer would be happy to find one of these under the tree.
The 4GB model of the new Xbox 360 retails for around £150, the 250GB for about £200.
Watch our video of the new Xbox 360 Slim:
Best for technophiles: Playstation 3
The PlayStation 3 received its own makeover in 2009, with slimmer models of the console, but 2010 still saw some pretty impressive updates to the console’s firmware. First, we saw the update that enabled 3D Blu-rays to be played on the console, negating the need to purchase a standalone 3D Blu-ray player for PS3 owners. For those craving even more action in three dimensions, Sony provided another update allowing selected games to also be played in 3D.
The library of compatible games wasn’t too impressive at first, but newer titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Gran Turismo are fully 3D compatible. An ideal gift for anyone with a 3D TV and not much to do with it.
Best for on the move: Nintendo DSi XL
The Nintendo DSi remains a popular choice for gamers on the move, and has a huge library of games to support it, including popular titles such as the Professor Layton series, Mario and Pokemon. With built in wi-fi, camera and touch screen, it should keep everyone happy. However, gadget fans should be aware that Nintendo’s 3DS is launched early next year, with it’s glasses-free 3D technology, meaning the DSi could soon be surpassed.
Also available is the DSi XL, which benefits from a bigger screen than the standard version. Nintendo have launched a special edition of the XL for Christmas, marking 25 years of their plumbing mascot, Mario.